As a traffic ticket attorney in Los Angeles, I’ve represented thousands of clients whose tickets have been referred to GC Services. This article explains how GC Services can screw you over if you have a traffic ticket in “failure to appear” status.
Who is GC Services After?
There are two types of traffic ticket situations that GC Services will try to collect on:
- Failure to appear (FTA)
- Failure to pay (FTP)
FTA and FTP are two distinctions the DMV will use on your DMV report when you are trying to figure out what is holding your driver’s license. The classification of FTA or FTP is to help you understand the current status of the traffic ticket that is causing the VC 40509.5 hold.
On an FTA, you haven’t seen the judge yet on your ticket and your case is still in limbo (you don’t have a conviction on your DMV record yet).
On an FTP, you’ve already seen a judge and your case has been adjudicated. This means you already have a conviction on your record. On an FTP, you’ve been ordered by the court to pay fines or to complete community service, but failed to do so by the court’s deadline.
Who is GC Services Able to Collect from?
Whether you have an FTA or FTP, GC Services can technically collect from you in either situation.
HOWEVER…you shouldn’t pay GC Services when you have an FTA because in that situation you are still able to see the judge.
ALSO…you don’t need to pay GC Services on an FTP to clear the hold from your license in the case where the traffic ticket is older than 5 years old, because after 5 years, an old traffic ticket will not hold your license anymore. (Note: this applies to FTA and FTP tickets alike.)
So if you have an FTA and want a new court date, you shouldn’t ask GC Services whether or not you can get another court date because….SURPRISE, GC Services will lie to you and tell you that you can’t see the judge even though you can!
Only on an FTP are you prevented from seeing the judge again, because you’ve already seen the judge and you already have a conviction.
How Do I Know if I Have an FTA or an FTP?
If you can’t remember whether or not you’ve seen the judge on your old traffic ticket, the best way to find out is by your DMV report. Your DMV report will reveal to you:
- The citation number(s) responsible for holding your license
- The courthouse that has jurisdiction over that citation
- The status of the traffic ticket: FTA or FTP
If you look up your traffic ticket on the Los Angeles County court website, the court will assign a status to each traffic ticket.
If the court status is “matters set for compliance” and you know that ticket is holding your license, you have an FTP. “Matters set for compliance” doesn’t ALWAYS mean you have an FTP, in the case where your due date to pay your fine or complete community services hasn’t passed yet. In this situation, the FTP won’t be holding your license.
If the court status says “warrant” or “40509.5 hold”, this means you have an FTA.
Why Should I Not Pay GC Services on a Traffic Ticket with a Failure to Appear (FTA)?
As discussed above, in the FTP situation, you HAVE to pay GC Services to clear the hold from your driver’s license, unless the age of the ticket is older than 5 years old.
In the FTA situation, you are still entitled to a court date even though GC Services may lie to you and tell you the only thing you can do is pay them (many of my clients were told this by GC Services before learning they could hire me to take care of the ticket for them).
Many people don’t realize that when they pay a traffic ticket to GC Services (in the FTA situation), they plead guilty to the ticket and receive one or more convictions on their DMV record.
When you fail to appear on a traffic ticket, you are additionally charged with failure to appear under Vehicle Code 40508. Paying GC Services means you’re pleading guilty to the FTA as well, which will go on your criminal record as a misdemeanor.
Further, you’ll get a point on your DMV record if the traffic ticket is considered a moving violation.
On the contrary, the benefits of handling a traffic ticket with an FTA are several:
- you’ll still be able to clear the hold from your license, but in a way that isn’t damaging to your criminal record and DMV record
- get the failure to appear charged dismissed, or at least reduced to an infraction so it stays off of your criminal record
- keep points off your DMV record by getting the case dismissed, amended, or traffic school
- get your fines dismissed, or significantly reduced, due to the ability to set your ticket for trial and force the officer to prosecute or dismiss
As a traffic defense attorney for over 5 years, I pride myself in being able to help my clients get the results they deserve by handling their ticket in court where it should be handled.
What if I’ve Made Partial Payment to GC Services?
Nothing frustrates me more than when I receive a call from a person who is looking for help with their traffic ticket, but has already paid GC Services in full.
Once you pay GC Services in full, you’ve plead guilty to the ticket and cannot go back. However, if you’ve made PARTIAL payment on your FTA, you can still get another court date.
Who is GC Services Going to Screw Over?
Answer: not you.
Don’t be bullied by a collection agency. Know your rights, and exercise them!
As your traffic ticket defense attorney, I am here to help. You can call me (Attorney Paul Denni) for a free consultation at 888-250-8450 or use the Contact Form below.